Bringing the Beauty of the Past Online: Serviceplan Suisse Create Antique GIFs for the Zurich Book Fair

Copperplate engraved GIFs engage a new generation of collectors for Switzerland’s leading antiquarian book fair.

Antique books, antique prints – and antique people. This is what awaits visitors to the Zurich Book Fair, Switzerland’s premier event for traders and collecters of rare antiquarian books and prints. And as it’s audience grows older, the fair’s visitor numbers are becoming smaller. How could the fair, first held in 1994, help a new generation fall in love with the beauty of antiquarian publishing?

In partnership with Serviceplan Suisse, the Zurich Book Fair created “Antique GIFs”: a series of popular internet GIFs reimagined as copperplate engravings, designed to give a taste of analogue craftsmanship to a young, digital audience.

For the project, Serviceplan Suisse collaborated with local engraver Mathias Gentinetta (@kupfer.werkstatt /, known for his contemporary take on the centuries-old craft.

Internet GIFs are sequential video loops of eight still images. To create the Antique GIFs, five GIFs were turned into series of eight hand-etched copper printing plates. A single print run created 48 unique prints, which were raffled on Instagram in a competition designed to get young feet on the Book Fair floor. Participants just needed to screenshot and re-post the rolling “Antique GIFs” for a chance to win a print of the frame they’d posted.

The campaign generated an online buzz that saw young visitors attend the fair in record numbers, with the lucky winners leaving with their prints.

Dr. Peter Bichsel, Zurich Book Fair President commented: ““The Zurich Book Fair is an unmissable event for antiquarian bibliophiles in Switzerland and beyond. We have a highly passionate visitor base, but we felt we needed to pass on this passion to a new generation. When Serviceplan approached us with the idea of turning GIFs into copperplate engravings, we knew we had something that could straddle the worlds of youth-driven internet humour and antiquarian book collecting.”

Source: Serviceplan Suisse

You must be logged in to post a comment Login